Arizona might use No. 3 pick to draft a QB

TEMPE, Ariz. -- It wasn't what Jeff Blake did while leading
the Arizona Cardinals that led to his downfall. It was more what
coach Dennis Green thinks Josh McCown has the potential to do.

At a news conference Wednesday, Green said he had terminated the
last two years of Blake's contract and decided after analyzing game
film to make McCown the starter.

"When you bring a player in, you expect him to be in a
developmental stage, and I think Josh has done that," Green said.
"But now, in year three, he's ready to step in and be the starter.
He has a lot of outstanding tools to do well in the NFL. He's got a
quick release, he has the size, he has the height, he has the
speed, he has the athletic ability, and I think he has the
gunslinger mentality."

Green, who refused to discuss Blake's shortcomings, said the
switch will have no bearing on whether the Cardinals draft a
quarterback in April, when they will have the No. 3 pick overall.

"You don't try to outsmart yourself. You take the best player
on the board, because you're always going to get a great player."
Green said. "Whether that player is a quarterback or not is
irrelevant; you can never have too many good players. And no matter
who comes in -- whether it's an eight-year veteran or a 22-year-old
rookie -- Josh McCown knows that they want his job."

But Green reiterated that any newcomer would arrive as McCown's backup.

Green had offensive coordinator Alex Wood deliver the news to
Blake and said he had no idea whether the development surprised the
12-year veteran.

"I'm sure if a player really wanted to be here he'd hope that
it would work out," Green said. "But we have to be realistic. The
first thing I said when I stood up here is that we will always take
a realistic look at our talent and the decision we have to make
according to that talent. We also said we think we have the talent
on this team to be good, but we're going to have to really work to
bring it out of them."

Blake's number is unlisted, and Ralph Cindrich, his agent, did
not return phone calls seeking comment.

The waiver was Green's first major player move since he replaced
Dave McGinnis on Jan. 7.

Blake signed a $7.5 million, three-year contract, including a
$1.5 million signing bonus, last March 12. The move saved the team
$3 million over the next two years -- $2 million in salary each of
the next two years, offset by $500,000 a year that Blake's bonus
will count against the salary cap.

Blake arrived as the intended replacement for Jake Plummer, who
left for Denver.

But McGinnis benched Blake at halftime on Dec. 7, after San
Francisco took a 34-0 lead on the way to a 50-14 win, and McCown
started the last three games.

Blake completed 208 of 367 passes for 2,247 yards, 13 TDs and 15
interceptions -- throwing more pickoffs than scores for the first
time in his career. He also ran for 177 yards and two TDs on 30

Blake spent 1992-93 with the New York Jets and also played for
Cincinnati (1994-99), New Orleans (2000-01) and Baltimore (2002).